Brody and Elaine are sidelined…

My morning workouts with the dogs usually start pre-dawn.  I’m up at 5:30am putting on the running shorts, the knee brace and the calf support while my two partners pace and pant at my feet.  5:40am we’re out to the kitchen to make a smoothie for Cait so she can have her breakfast.  5:50am I do a brief and light stretching of both calves and by 6am we’re out the door, around the corner and pounding the pavement toward our projected mileage goal for the day.  I was excited about yesterday’s run because I felt we’d conquered most of Brody’s fears with the new leash system.  With Elaine on my far left side, me on her right and Brody in the middle his fear issues seemed much subdued.  Not so!

Brody in a calmer moment
Brody in a calmer moment

In a city of over 11 million people some mornings are busier than others.  This was another Wednesday, trash day, and as I explained in my post on March 25, collection days are not very good for Mr. Brody.  In addition to the rolling trucks throughout our neighborhood there was a large film shoot and for some reason a half dozen other people out walking their dogs in the pre-dawn hours.  Our mileage demand for this run was four miles and the first one and half were great.  Brody only needed a few reminders but more or less ran without too much commotion or complaining.  I was thrilled and thought we’d solved the problem.

As we rounded the corner and leaned into our third mile we came upon the film shoot.  There were trucks lining both sides of the street, motorhomes with make-up and wardrobe people climbing in and out of them, a big rumbling generator and a craft service table surrounded by electricians and grips.  I could tell that this was a large production because of the size of the crew and all of the equipment.  Also, they were in the neighborhood prior to 7am.   The city does not allow crews to come to neighborhoods prior to 7am unless the particular production gets approval from all the surrounding neighbors.  This usually takes a few days and requires a small army of location people waiting for owners to return home so they can get their approval signatures.  Rarely do we have the luxury of time in the commercial business to do this so I surmised that this was a TV show or a feature film.

I considered turning around and going down another road to bypass all of the people and loud trucks but thought I’d test the new leash system.  Not a wise choice.  It was all too much for Brody.  He ran to my right and tried to pull Elaine along with him.  I did a Ceasar Milan (Dog Whisperer) vulcan kneck thing on him and he got back in line but then began to pull ahead growling and snorting as if he was going to eat everyone on the film crew.  A motorcycle cop who was directing traffic saw us coming and stepped to the other side of his bike.  I apologized as we ran past and he tried to smile but I don’t think he was excited about my big black belgian shepherd growling at the end of a dual leash.  Other crew members started with a smile as they turned to watch us but those faded too as Brody continued to test the limits of his mobility.  One quick correction after another brought him back again and again.  We must’ve looked like a circus act – and pull, one, two, yank, three, four and pull one, two… I tried to act as though he was okay and smiled and said good morning but it was ridiculous to try to hide my dog’s antics.  As we came to the end of trucks lining the road I saw that the transportation department had delivered several Miami Dade Police (picture) cars and so, using my deductive powers, surmized that this was the CSI Miami show.  My thoughts turned to an autopsy table with David Caruso standing over the body –  “yes, the man’s right hand is frozen in the Ceasar Milan vulcan kneck thing position and it seems he’s died of pure embarrassment.”

As the last car slid behind us Brody worked his way back into his middle position and we were back to our workout.  It was about a half a block after the CSI encounter that he decided the whole dual leash thing was non-sense and commensed to bumping into my left leg.  Sometimes he did this with his whole body, other times poking me with his nose and still others he head butted my left calf as it rotated thought its motion.  He was a dog obsessed.  I was able to tap his butt with my left leg at one point and that temporarily stopped the bumping.  As we rounded the next corner we directly into a man with a gentle Irish Setter.  He’s an older gentleman and we see him every so often.  Most mornings we are all alone but if someone is out its usually him.  His dog is very mellow but this morning I wasn’t paying attention and we surprised one another.  Brody and Elaine lurched, the setter lurched, loud barking ensued, I stopped and had to swing my whole body around to pull my dogs back, the elderly gentleman got hold of this dog’s leash and pulled and it was all we could do to keep the beasts from engaging.  Yanking them back onto the road I apologized, again!, and we continued to run.

Elaine, relaxing after a game of fetch.
Elaine, relaxing after a game of fetch.

Brody’s head was ready to pop off his body now but fortunately we only had another half mile to go.  I was just recovering from the Setter incident as we came to our last corner and were surprised by a woman with a small black poodle.  I don’t know if we’ve ever seen her before, especially at this hour.  Same actions ensued only this time I had to swing the dogs around twice to avoid contact.  Apologizing all the way.  Finally at the finish line, completely exhaused, I decided their running days are over for now.  If I get motivated I’ll do what I can to get more training with them but for now I’m too concerned about the neighbors safety, me getting injured and this whole experience being tainted by bad workouts.  My left knee ached all day yesterday and I can only guess it was due to all the extra work I put into pulling the dogs off.

Today I went out for three miles all by myself.  I did miss my companions but it was so peaceful and I was able to concentrate on my form and breathing.  Recently I added a block of walking to cool down after my runs.  It makes a difference.  As I finished a lady who lives three doors down who owns two really nice labradores noticed I was solo, “You’re dogless,” she said.  “Yeah, we’re taking a break,” I replied and thought, its better this way – for now.


tom lowe photo, llc

tacoma, wa 98406


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